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THE WANTING MARE review- Visually beautiful, weird, and intimate

The Wanting Mare is a bizarre yet stunning sci-fi film that will leave you wanting more



The Wanting Mare

Anmaere Pictures brings you an intimate fantasy drama written and directed by the brilliant digital artist Nicholas Ashe Bateman. The Wanting Mare is an upcoming technical marvel that relishes in digital world-building that aims to give audiences something new. We had the absolute privilege of watching The Wanting Mare and I am here to bring you a review of this bizarre yet thoughtful spectacle.

If you’re not sure what The Wanting Mare entails, check out the official synopsis.

In the world of Anmaere, north of the city of Whithren, wild horses run through the moorlands. These horses are the city’s most valuable export and, as a result, are hunted, trapped, sold, and shipped across the sea once a year. For those in Whithren, this trade passage creates lucrative and exciting possibilitiesthe chance to escape their constantly sweltering city and escape to the Western continent of Levithen, or simply to begin again.

Meanwhile, in a small house just north of the city, a young woman dies in childbirth. Her last words are an attempt to tell her daughter of the life she’ll have and her inheritance of a recurring dream that must be kept secret. For it contains the memories of another age long before usOne where magic and myth were alive in the world.

Wanting Mare

I think the first thing to say about this movie is that it was not what I expected at all. The premise of the film is incredibly intriguing but there is surprisingly so much more to it. It becomes a lot deeper, the stakes increase drastically, and we actually see a narrative span multiple decades. One of the only negatives I walked away with was that it was somewhat hard to follow to begin with. Having said that, as the film progressed things became a lot more clearer. Things began to add up and I was able to start piecing it together. What makes this film stand out is that it exists outside of typical modes of storytelling within the fantasy genre.

When we are typically presented with a fantasy world, we are usually given all the information beforehand. Take Lord of the Rings for example. The opening provides us with everything we need to know about where we are in Middle Earth. We are so used to being fed this establishing information that when it is absent it actually becomes somewhat jarring. The Wanting Mare raises so many questions and refuses to acknowledge any of them.

You’d think that would hinder the experience. In a way it does, but mostly it makes for a really interesting watch. We go on a journey with multiple characters learning more about how they cope with their dystopian condition and how they plan to change it. We’re always in the moment. We’re never given the “how” or the “why” and that creates a really odd world building experience. I may call it odd but by the end I found myself wanting more. I want to see more from Anmaere, Whithren, and Levithen. With the prospect of more projects set within the world of Anmaere, it’s likely that we’ll see a lot more of the world but from different perspectives.

In addition to that, the lack of exposition and world building filler ensures that the various characters and their journeys are always in the foreground. The world, while intriguing and visually captivating, is never prioritized above the desperate journeys and challenging circumstances the characters face. That’s a blessing in disguise. Sure, I would have loved to have had all the answers thrown at me. It’s only natural to crave the answers for things that we simply don’t know. However, I got to experience an endearing and intimate narrative unravel undisturbed. This narrative covered decades and I was never once taken out of it for the sake of answering worldly questions. It certainly was a strange viewing but it felt fulfilling.

The Wanting Mare opens nationwide on February 5th.
The Wanting Mare

That level of fulfillment and satisfaction is partly due to the cast. They all share a really deep connection and the relationship between the main characters, Moira (Jordan Monaghan) and Lawrence (Nicholas Ashe Bateman), seems somewhat cyclical. She finds him and he finds her. It’s a really sweet and sincere coupling that sparks hope when there is none. The world of Anmaere is a harsh and full of despair and desperation. Yet their relationship makes it seem manageable. Their bond and love for each other is incredible convincing and that carries over to their older selves (played by Christine Kellogg-Darrin and Josh Clark). It was really heart warming watching their relationship flourish.

One of the major hooks that got me interested in this film was the visual effects. I absolutely love visual effects. The ability to create the impossible is truly outstanding. But what The Wanting Mare does honestly took me by surprise. A large majority of the film was filmed in a warehouse, yet most of the film takes place outside. So a lot of what you see is actually special effects: grass, waves, buildings, and roads. Despite being in a fictional and dystopian land, the setting is somewhat tame yet I could not distinguish properly what was real and what was digital. We return to my previous point about the characters being the centre of attention, the special effects never take us away from that. That’s because the effects are blended so seamlessly into the movie that you simply cannot tell.

While watching, I spent a good chunk of time studying the backgrounds for the effects. Yet I was completely unaware that seemingly ordinary aspects of life, like grass, were digitally rendered. More often than not, visual effects are used to create a world that simply doesn’t exist, or to show us something that we’ve never seen before. The Wanting Mare does something incredibly unique by giving us a very limited view of the world and using the effects to create something quite grounded yet captivating rather than crafting some elaborate realm.

Nicholas Ashe Bateman created a very intimate and intriguing world that defied typical storytelling tropes. While it can be somewhat hard to follow, The Wanting Mare is a visually stunning and thoughtful film that is incredibly ambitious in its approach. While we don’t get to explore Anmaere in its entirety, there is an opportunity to expand. The Wanting Mare is a compelling love story that is full of passion, potential, and awe. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for people looking for something different and unique, The Wanting Mare delivers on that front without question.

Don’t forget to check out the trailer

The Wanting Mare will act as the first chapter in a series about the people and legends of Anmaere.

The Wanting Mare stars Jordan Monaghan, Yasmin Keshtkar, Edmond Cofie, Nicholas Ashe Bateman, Josh Clark, and Christine Kellogg-Darrin. The film opens nationwide on February 5th 2021.

You can check out more news here.

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